Health, Spirituality, Uncategorized

An Anniversary Post

The end of this month marks my 17th anniversary of being free of the the pain and medications associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis. At this point 17 years ago, I was still on a daily regimen of anti-inflammatories (Lodine, Naproxen, Prednisone, and Methotrexate…while often still resorting to Advil to help with the pain), but something had changed. I was “treating my symptoms” while actively working on healing from within. You see, up until July of 2000, I had been struggling as a victim to a disease that I had coped with since I was 3 years old. Years of medications, a couple of short-lived remissions, and a resignation to this being the pattern of my life had taken my health out of my hands. That July, I reluctantly (and doubtfully) went to see an energy worker for the first time. I felt a change. I felt an ease and a calm that I hadn’t felt…ever. It was after that visit, that I thought, I need to do something different. I am ready to do something different. I couldn’t afford to keep going to this person while still paying out of pocket for all my doctor visits, so I thought, I need to learn how to do this for myself. By September, I had read some books (the first of which was Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life), I had taken some classes to learn how to give myself energy, I began to meditate (or attempt to), and I had found a group of others that were learning to do the same. This was the start of my journey and I slowly was feeling an improvement in my health, but I had some solid challenges to face that had nothing to do with the pain or swelling. What I found was that I had two primary challenges that I had to consistently work on overcoming. Others looking in told me that it should be smooth sailing  once I got over the physical symptoms that I had been dealing with. What they didn’t understand was that the emotional aspect was actually the most difficult piece to shift and release. Nobody wants to be in pain. Getting the body to physically cooperate was actually easier than getting my mind on board.

First, as much as this seems contrary to what I would want for myself, JRA had become a very real part of my identity. I was 3 when I was diagnosed. That means that for (at the time) 22 out of 25 years of my life, I struggled with and I identified with a person that had Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. It was a very real and tangible part of my identity. It was as much a part of how I defined myself as being from Ohio or coming from a Greek family. It was woven into the fabric of my identity and removing those threads of “who I was” was…work. A constant awareness and work.

Second, and I’m going to get very vulnerable and honest here, probably equally as challenging as having to shift the way I viewed myself, was having to become aware of and then finding the courage and motivation to get rid of my victim mentality. For so many years, I was a victim to my disease. It defined who I was, what I was able to do, how others viewed me, and how I viewed myself. It put limits on my physical ability, but then again, so did I. It pains me to say that I often used it as an excuse to not face challenges, to get out of doing things that were hard, and I willingly accepted any sympathy that others offered me due to my disease. Taking my power back was HARD. Taking ownership of my “limitations” and of my limiting beliefs was HARD…but it was worth it. I mean, it was REALLY worth it.

This week, while I am not quite at the anniversary point of where I had finally weaned myself off of all of my medications, I am grateful. During this rainy, humid, wet week, I don’t feel a thing and for that I am beyond feeling mere gratitude. It is a sign of the immense healing that I have had the honor of experiencing, but it is also a sign of my strength. Today, I am celebrating my growth, challenges, and healing.

Writing with gratitude and love–Maria

new-think

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Health, Spirituality

Clearing and Setting the Energy Tone of Your Home

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“Smudging”, or burning dried sage, is a practice that has been around for thousands of years. The intent behind burning the sage is to remove negative energy from a person or from a space. It really is as simple as that. I have been doing this for many years, and still, I tend to shy away from sharing that with the general public for fear of judgement.

The truth is, many people that I have encountered that are not familiar or open to energy work, still can relate to notion of feeling energy. Let me explain. Thoughts, emotions, and words all carry energy. The energy can be neutral, it can be positive, or it can be negative (or anywhere in between). If you were to walk into a room where someone is telling a funny story and everyone is laughing and having a good time, your energy shifts to blend with the general energy in the room. You too might find yourself smiling or laughing even if you haven’t heard the whole story. Likewise, if you happen to walk into a room where two people have been arguing, or maybe they haven’t argued in that room, but there is a tension between them, you can often sense that without anyone saying a word. Chances are, you would like to remove yourself from that room as quickly as possible. It just feels “uncomfortable”. These instances are perfect examples of feeling energy. You do not have to practice energy work, yoga, or even meditate to have an acute awareness of the energy around you.

The good news is that burning sage is just one way of clearing or shifting the energy in a room. There are other, less ritualistic, less “herb smelling”, and more widely accepted ways to shift energy. Palo Santo wood can also be burned with the same intent of clearing out negative energy and replacing it with positive, loving energy. It smells wonderful and can be found in many of the same shops where you can buy sage bundles. Burning incense can also help shift the energy of a room. There are a lot of different kinds of incense out there. I tend to shy away from the kinds that smell like a college dorm (you know what I mean) and I lean toward the higher quality incense such as those made by Shoyeido. My favorites are “cherry blossoms” and “eternal treasures”. They are mild and have a way of almost immediately raising my own energy. Not wanting to burn anything? You can also shift the energy of a space by playing music! When the children that I used to babysit (nearly 20 years ago) would begin arguing, I would often pop in a John Denver cd and we would quickly find ourselves dancing around the room to Rocky Mountain High or Thank God I’m a Country Boy. Of course, you don’t have to listen to John Denver, but you can quickly sense the energy of a song by tuning in to how a song makes you feel when you hear it. If the song makes you sad, or brings back difficult memories, choose a different song 🙂

While these techniques can shift energy quite effectively, I truly believe that maintaining the energy in your space by regularly using these tools is preferable. It is harder to shift from negative to positive than it is to maintain a neutral or positive energy level throughout your space.

The above techniques are just a few of the ways that I personally maintain or shift the energy in my own space. Of course, I still refer back to burning sage or using sage spray when I am aware of negative energy in a space, but these other techniques are key in setting the daily energetic tone of my home. I would love to hear other ideas. What do you do in your own home? What do you do to clear out negative energy?

With gratitude,

Maria